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Chinese Artificial Intelligence Company Files $1.4 Billion Lawsuit Against Apple Over 'Siri'

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

Xiao-i argued that Apple’s voice-recognition technology Siri infringes on a patent that it applied for in 2004 and was granted in 2009.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: August 3, 2020, 8:18 PM IST

Chinese artificial intelligence company Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology Co., Ltd., also known as Xiao-i, has filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc, alleging it has infringed on its patents.

The company is calling for 10 billion yuan ($1.43 billion) in damages and demands that Apple cease “manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling, and importing”; products that infringe on the patent, it said in a social media post.

Xiao-i argued that Apple’s voice-recognition technology Siri infringes on a patent that it applied for in 2004 and was granted in 2009.

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Apple did not respond to a request for comment. Reuters was not immediately available to find a copy of the court filing. The lawsuit marks the continuation of a row that has been ongoing for nearly a decade.

Shanghai Zhizhen first sued Apple for patent infringement in 2012 regarding its voice recognition technology. In July, China’s Supreme People’s court ruled that the patent was valid.


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Chinese artificial intelligence company files $1.4 billion lawsuit against Apple

SHANGHAI Chinese artificial intelligence company Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology Co., Ltd., also known as Xiao-i, has filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc, alleging it has infringed on its patents.

The company is calling for 10 billion yuan ($1.43 billion)in damages and demands that Apple cease “manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling, and importing” products that infringe on the patent, it said in a social media post.

Xiao-i argued that Apple’s voice-recognition technology Siri infringes on a patent that it applied for in 2004 and was granted in 2009.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment. Reuters was not immediately available to find a copy of the court filing.

The lawsuit marks the continuation of a row that has been ongoing for nearly a decade.

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Shanghai Zhizhen first sued Apple for patent infringement in 2012 regarding its voice recognition technology. In July, China’s Supreme People’s court ruled that the patent was valid.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Nvidia in Advanced Talks to Acquire SoftBank-owned Chip Maker ARM For $32 Billion

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Image for Representation

Buying ARM would consolidate graphics giant Nvidia’s position at the centre of the semiconductor industry.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: August 1, 2020, 11:05 AM IST

US chip-maker Nvidia is reportedly in advance talks to acquire SoftBank-owned UK chip company ARM in a cash-and-stock deal worth at least $32 billion. According to a report in the Financial Times on Friday citing sources, the talks began after “Nvidia approached SoftBank, which has been pursuing a series of other asset sales, about a potential acquisition”. The proposed deal includes “both cash and stock and that it valued ARM at above the $32bn price that SoftBank paid for the business in 2016”. Both Nvidia and ARM did not comment on the report. The British chip designer powers major mobile processor from companies like Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung and Huawei.

Apple last month confirmed its break up with Intel chips for ARM chips in its Mac desktops, announcing it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Buying ARM would consolidate graphics giant Nvidia’s position at the centre of the semiconductor industry. SoftBank bought ARM for $31 billion in 2016. Microsoft makes an ARM-based Surface laptop and a version of Windows designed for ARM. According to The Verge, Nvidia would make an interesting owner for ARM. While Nvidia is the leader for GPUs, it has little to do with CPU design or mobile hardware.

Nvidia said this week it delivered the world’s fastest Artificial Intelligence (AI) training performance among commercially available chips, a feat that will help big enterprises tackle the most complex challenges in AI, data science and scientific computing. Nvidia A100 GPUs and DGX SuperPOD systems were declared the world’s fastest commercially available products for AI training, according to MLPerf benchmarks. The A100 Tensor Core GPU demonstrated the fastest performance per accelerator on all eight MLPerf benchmarks.



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Apple Q3 2020 Revenue Clocks Record $59.7 Billion Amid Covid-19 Crisis and Store Closures

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(Image: Reuters)

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

iPhone sales were $26.4 billion, iPad revenue was $6.6 billion while Mac revenue reached $7.1 billion, the tech giant said.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 31, 2020, 11:10 AM IST

Beating the pandemic blues, Apple has posted $59.7 billion in revenue for its fiscal 2020 third quarter ended June 27, an increase of 11 per cent from the year-ago quarter, as iPhone sales beat the Wall Street estimates. Apple’s board of directors approves a four-for-one stock split, effective from August 31. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue. “Apple’s record June quarter was driven by double-digit growth in both Products and Services and growth in each of our geographic segments,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“In uncertain times, this performance is a testament to the important role our products play in our customers’ lives and to Apple’s relentless innovation,” he said in a statement. iPhone sales were $26.4 billion, iPad revenue was $6.6 billion while Mac revenue reached $7.1 billion. Apple posted revenue of $6.5 billion in the Wearables, Home and Accessories segment while its Services vertical (App Store, Apple Music and iCloud etc) reached $13.2 billion in sales. The solid results took Apple stock up to as much as 6.3 per cent in extended trading, pushing the stock above $400 for the first time.

“Our June quarter performance was strong evidence of Apple’s ability to innovate and execute during challenging times,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. “The record business results drove our active installed base of devices to an all-time high in all of our geographic segments and all major product categories. We grew EPS by 18 per cent and generated operating cash flow of $16.3 billion during the quarter, a June quarter record for both metrics,” Maestri informed. Following last quarter’s lead, Apple didn’t provide guidance for the September quarter.


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Mackenzie Scott donates $1.7 billion of her wealth since split with Jeff Bezos

WASHINGTON MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon.com Inc’s billionaire Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, has donated $1.7 billion of her wealth in the past year to causes including racial equality, LGBTQ rights, public health and climate change, she said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Scott, who was previously known as MacKenzie Bezos, also announced her new last name, which she said was taken from her middle name.

Last year, Scott signed the Giving Pledge in a commitment to donate the majority of her fortune after her split from Bezos – the world’s richest man – left her with a 4% stake in Amazon.

“Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror,” she wrote in a post on Medium.

“I began work to complete my pledge with the belief that my life had yielded two assets that could be of particular value to others: the money these systems helped deliver to me, and a conviction that people who have experience with inequities are the ones best equipped to design solutions,” she added.

At the time of the divorce, her stake was worth about $36 billion. Her fortune has grown to over $60 billion with a jump in Amazon’s shares this year.

Scott made her announcement a day before Jeff Bezos will appear for his first-ever Congressional testimony in front of an antitrust panel, which has been investigating how Amazon has used its market power to hurt smaller rivals.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Exclusive: ByteDance investors value TikTok at $50 billion in takeover bid – sources

NEW YORK/HONG KONG Some investors of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance seeking to take over the popular social media app are valuing it at about $50 billion, significantly more than peers such as Snap Inc, according to people familiar with the matter.

Beijing-based ByteDance is considering a range of options for TikTok amid pressure from the United States to relinquish control of the app, which allows users to create short videos with special effects and has become wildly popular with U.S. teenagers. The app’s success has helped turn ByteDance into one of only a handful truly global Chinese conglomerates.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a U.S. government panel which reviews deals by foreign acquirers for potential national security risks, has raised concerns about the safety of the personal data that TikTok handles under its Chinese owner, Reuters has previously reported.

Privately held ByteDance has received a proposal from some of its investors, including Sequoia and General Atlantic, to transfer majority ownership of TikTok to them, the sources said. It has also fielded acquisition interest in TikTok from other companies and investment firms, the sources said.

The investors’ bid values TikTok at 50 times its projected 2020 revenue of about $1 billion, according to the sources. By comparison, Snap is valued at 15 times its projected 2020 revenue, at about $33 billion, according to data provider Refinitiv.

It is unclear whether ByteDance’s founder and CEO, Yiming Zhang, will be satisfied with the offer. ByteDance executives recently discussed valuation projections for TikTok that exceed $50 billion, one of the sources said.

TikTok is growing rapidly as it rakes in more cash from advertising, and its management team expects to achieve $6 billion in revenue in 2021, one of the sources said.

ByteDance, which owns other apps including TikTok’s Chinese counterpart, Douyin‎, has set itself a revenue target for 2020 of about 200 billion yuan ($28 billion), Reuters has previously reported.

ByteDance was valued at as much as $140 billion earlier this year when one of its shareholders, Cheetah Mobile Inc, sold a small stake in a private deal, one of the sources said.

If a deal for the whole of TikTok cannot be reached, ByteDance is exploring divesting only TikTok’s U.S. operations, one of the sources said. It is not clear what such a deal would be worth and what ties TikTok in the United States would maintain with its global operations.

There is no certainty that ByteDance will agree to any deal, the sources said. It is pushing ahead with structural changes that will further ringfence the U.S. business of TikTok from its global empire, the sources added. These changes could include a new holding company for TikTok and an independent board, one of the sources said, cautioning that no decision has been made. The company has already separated TikTok operationally from its other apps through dedicated teams.

The sources requested anonymity because the deliberations are confidential.

ByteDance and Sequoia declined to comment, while General Atlantic, Cheetah Mobile and a CFIUS spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

TARGET OF U.S. LAWMAKERS

As relations between the United States and China deteriorate over trade, Hong Kong’s autonomy, cyber security and the spread of the novel coronavirus, TikTok has emerged as a flashpoint in the dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

Last week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs unanimously passed a bill that would bar U.S. federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices. It will be taken up by the full Senate for a vote. The House of Representatives has already voted for a similar measure.

President Donald Trump and top administrations officials have said they are considering a broader ban on TikTok and other Chinese-linked apps.

ByteDance acquired Shanghai-based video app Musical.ly app in a $1 billion deal in 2017 and relaunched it as TikTok the following year. About 70% of the equity capital ByteDance has raised from outside investors has come from the United States, according to one of the sources.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Microsoft Teams Saw Five Billion Meeting Minutes in a Single Day This Quarter: Satya Nadella

File photo of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

File photo of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

The Microsoft CEO said that the company is seeing increased usage intensity across the platform as people communicate, collaborate and co-author content in Teams.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 23, 2020, 3:27 PM IST

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that Teams users generated more than 5 billion meeting minutes in a single day this quarter and more than 150 million students and teachers now rely on tools like Teams, Stream, OneNote as well as Flipgrid to prioritise student engagement and learning outcomes. Nadella said that the company is seeing increased usage intensity across the platform as people communicate, collaborate and co-author content in Teams.

“Sixty-nine organisations now have more than 100,000 users of Teams and over 1,800 organizations have more than 10,000 users of Teams, Nadella informed during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday. He said that Microsoft is working alongside educators as they prepare for remote hybrid and in-person scenarios this fall.

“Our new Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is helping providers schedule, manage and conduct virtual visits using Teams and engage with patients using Dynamics 365,” he informed. Microsoft Teams is helping people be together even when they are apart.

“We are reimagining every aspect of the meetings experience with new capabilities like Together Mode and the Dynamic Stage to help people feel more connected and reduce cognitive load,” said Nadella. Microsoft has expanded the gallery view in Teams so that people can see and interact with up to 49 participants at a time, and breakout rooms and live reactions will help people build social capital in a virtual world.

“Teams is rapidly becoming the communications backbone as customers accelerate moving voice to the cloud. And we’re expanding Teams beyond the workplace, making it easy to add personal Teams accounts on mobile, so you can stay connected with friends and family across work as well as your life,” informed Nadella. Microsoft has announced new exciting features in its video conferencing app Teams including a Together Mode that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to digitally place participants in a shared background as if they are sitting in the same room with everyone else in the meeting or class. Together Mode will be generally available in August.


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Jio-Google Partnership on Affordable 5G Phone May Finally Bring The Next Billion Online

Earlier this week, Caesar Sengupta, Vice President of product, payments and The Next Billion venture at Google, said at the Google For India 2020 conference that the technology giant will help develop a “high quality, low cost” smartphone that will squarely target the millions of feature phone users in India. Following this up, Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Limited, welcomed Google as an investor and strategic partner for Jio Platforms at the RIL AGM 2020 keynote yesterday.

The foremost partnership between the two companies will lead to the development of exactly what Sengupta spoke about earlier, with Ambani affirming that Google and Jio Platforms will collaboratively develop a custom operating system that will power smartphones squarely targeting the next billion users.

The move has lent strong credibility to Google’s promise, and suggests that the range of to-be-unveiled affordable smartphones can be a disruptive product in a market that has seen the appeal of sub-Rs 5,000 smartphones fade away in India due to a lack in returns. Key to this promise is the announcement of Jio 5G – India’s first and fully made-in-India 5G network infrastructure that simultaneously removes the need for India to source 5G technology from foreign players such as China’s Huawei.

Not only will the said smartphones be affordable, said Ambani, but will also be ready to make the most of 5G connectivity to offer real-life, appealing use cases for users that are still part of the feature phone demographic in India.

To understand the possible impact of this move, it is important to note how India’s mobile telephony industry is shaped right now. A highly attractive market for smartphone manufacturers by virtue of a unique demand for value-driven products, India has roughly 400 million smartphone users, while feature phone users outnumber them by a slim margin, according to IDC data. The 450 million-odd feature phone users are those for whom smartphones are so far a liability, and surplus to their requirements.

Feature phones, for instance, offer super-long battery life and reliable sturdiness. Additionally, smartphones so far have failed to offer appealing-enough use cases for these users, as a result of which, despite there being a massive segment of people in the country who are yet to jump on to the smartphone and data connectivity bandwagon, the adoption of smartphones have seen a slowdown in recent times.

It is this that Jio and Google’s partnership will address. With 5G connectivity, sectors like agriculture, education and healthcare will receive major boosts in terms of using technology to their benefits. Agriculture, for instance, can use 5G connectivity to get real-time weather updates, prediction on natural disasters, analysis of crop growth and more, all of which can significantly contribute to a healthier rate of produce for farmers.

In education, the Covid-19 pandemic has already underlined the need for remote education technologies. With the advent of 5G, it will become even more feasible to reach out to fringe areas and impart education to students. Even teachers can receive development training through remote platforms, and in comparison to what they could have achieved physically, will be able to address far larger groups of students in sessions. Students themselves will get access to real-time, immersive learning media, which can enhance their interests in topics.

Healthcare, similarly, can receive a strong boost in non-metropolitan areas with remote doctor consultations, and remote surgical procedures that a doctor can undertake. At the centre of all this are smartphones.

With strong use cases at hand, it is Jio and Google’s promise of a low cost device that can beckon the feature phone users to finally upgrade. The benefits of availing a smartphone will become evident, which in turn can lead to a steep rise in the adoption of smartphones in markets where feature phones still rule the roost. The co-developed, specially adapted operating system will also enhance the overall user experience and interface, far better than what Google could achieve with its Android Go venture.

India presently stands at the cusp of a new digital revolution, one which can bring the next billion users online with the promise of valuable services at nominal expense. Coupled with products such as JioMart for offering small business a digital business platform, and JioMeet to facilitate remote consulting, education and healthcare, the Jio-Google partnership is an exciting one – something that can truly transform the Indian technology as we know it today.

Disclaimer:News18.com is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited that also owns Reliance Jio.


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Google Invests Big In India: Sundar Pichai Announces $10 Billion Google for India Digitization Fund

Google has announced a big investment in the Indian economy. At the Google For India 2020 virtual event, Sundar Pichai announced the new $10 billion Google for India Digitization Fund. Through this, Google will invest approximately $10 billion in India over the next 5-7 years. It will be a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments. Pichai says this is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy. “Thanks to Prime Minister Modi’s vision for Digital India, the country has made huge progress in getting a billion Indians online. Low-cost smartphones combined with affordable data, and a world-class telecom infrastructure, have paved the way for new opportunities,” says Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet.

Google talks about how more than 26 million small businesses are now discoverable on Google Search and Google Maps in India with as many as 150 million users every month. Digital payments have played a big part in the change, which includes Google Pay that uses UPI payments for money transfers and bill payments. “The global pandemic has supercharged the adoption of digital tools. Digital payments, for example, have enabled families across India to access goods and services during lockdowns. For them, grocery delivery services have been invaluable—though I’m sure my grandmother misses haggling over the price of her vegetables in person,” says Pichai. Google talks about the program for internet in villages, called Internet Saathi. They say it has helped more than 30 million women across India gain digital skills to improve their lives and their communities.


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Pokémon GO Hits Major Milestone As it Collects Over $3.6 Billion in Global Player Spending

Niantic’s massively popular mobile game Pokémon GO has reportedly reached a new milestone by amassing a lifetime collection of $3.6 billion since its launch back in 2016, suggest a report by mobile intelligence Sensor Tower. At the height of the coronavirus-indued lockdown in April, Niantic introduced new changes in the game which enabled users to play the game while staying indoors. This proved to be a game-changer for the company as it accumulated over $445 million in the first half of 2020. To recall, the company garnered $995 million globally in 2019.

Interestingly, to date, Pokémon Go has clocked a total of 576.7 million downloads. Out of which, 105.2 million were seen in the US, where the game been most popular. Brazil and Mexico, take the second and third spots, with 63 million and 36 million downloads respectively. According to Sensor Tower estimates, another location-based mobile game called Dragon Quest Walk by Square Enix has proved to be a tough challenger to Pokémon Go as it collected a total of $540 million since its launch in 2019. On the other hand, two other games, namely Ludia’s Jurassic World Alive and Tencent’s Let’s Hunt Monsters posted lifetime collections of $76.5 million and $70 million in over two years, the latter being from iOS alone.

Interestingly, one particular thing that Pokémon Go hit this new milestone is perhaps because of its lion share of the collection that came from Google Play Store. According to reports, 53.6 percent of the total player spending came from Google Play Store, with over 450 million or 78.3% downloads from the platform globally. To make the game even more popular, the developers introduced the Remote Raid Pass in April, allowing up to 20 gamers to participate in Raid Battles by going to the in-game nearby screen. To purchase a Remote Raid Pass, players have to spend 100 in-game PokéCoins by spending $0.99.